Opioids belong to a group of drugs user as a treatment for moderate to severe pain. These drugs are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opioids often referred to as opiates and narcotics.
Codeine, morphine, and heroin sometimes referred to as opiates. Meanwhile, the other drugs including synthetic opiates like Oxycontin are referred to as opioids.
Several of the most commonly used opiates are listed below along with their generic names. The list is in ascending order based on the drug’s potency.
Within the past few years, the use of opioids prescription is on the rise in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 16 million American abused opioid prescription in just one year. This abuse behavior toward opioids can eventually lead to dependency and addiction.
Long term abuse of opioids can provide detrimental physical and mental side effects.
The drugs can also cause physical dependence which means the user needs to maintain drug intake. Overtime, dependence can lead to tolerance that the body needs more drugs to get the same effect. Drug dependency varies from each individual. One of the biggest challenges the user needs to take it going ‘cold turkey’. This condition makes it even harder for users to take a stop using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant but most are not life-threatening. Symptoms usually surface within 12 hours from the last drug intake.
The most common withdrawal symptoms include:
Other withdrawal symptoms may occur later in a detox process include:
The duration of the detox process depends on the user’s overall health, the length of abuse and the dosage of the drug intake.
The majority of users will undergo 3 stages of withdrawal while detoxing from opioids.
Within 12 hours from the last drug intake, users may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may peak around day 3 and last for about a total of 5 days. Methadone users may experience the same symptoms 30 hours from the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms during this window include:
The second stage of the withdrawal symptoms usually lasts for about 2 weeks. As the body excretes opiates, it also works to put back the endorphin balance levels that were used up during the opiate addiction. The second stage withdrawal symptoms include:
The third stage of opiate detoxification is the longest part. It can go anywhere between 1 week to 2 months but is less painful from the previous stages. Also, as the body excretes the drug, physical symptoms may subside but the psychological symptoms will start to manifest. This may include co-existing mental disorder that may trigger the user to abuse opiates. The psychological symptoms include:
Some users may take months even years to fully recover from opiate addiction. It may seem an impossible journey at first, but is still doable. Many succeeded regaining their lives back from addiction.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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